Legal Aid changes don’t address system’s basic inequalities: Rogers
NDP Justice Critic Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre) says that while government may have restored to the province’s Legal Aid system some of the funds cut in last year’s budget, the system still does not provide access to justice for many in the province.
The report commissioned by the justice department regarding Legal Aid mentions one of Roger’s ongoing concerns about the system.
“In his report lawyer John Roil writes there are concerns that due to the low eligibility threshold for qualifying for legal aid, suggesting the working poor are penalized under the current justice system,” Rogers said in the House of Assembly today.
“Will the minister fix these requirements to better reflect the reality working people face today?”
Rogers says that access to justice is an ongoing and increasing problem. The richest people in our society can afford legal costs, and only those of lowest income are covered by Legal Aid. Many people are forced to make the choice to represent themselves.
“The report also states many judges say problems arise in their courts when people have to represent themselves because they cannot afford a lawyer,” she said.
“I ask the Minister, what is his plan to fix this problem so people have access to justice?”